West Orange High School Virtual Enterprise Team Takes First and Third Place at VEI Competition

The West Orange High School Virtual Enterprise Team Zo was awarded First Place for Sales and Third Place for their Business Plan at the Virtual Enterprise International Competition held Jan. 14 at Fairleigh Dickinson University.


Team Zo’s virtual product line includes olive oil-based hair and skin care products, attractively packaged and advertised in on their website https://zoincnj.wixsite.com/zolive. The site even includes a mock order form, special bundle pricing, and detailed information on the benefits of olive oil, not only for skin and hair, but for diet, lifestyle, and overall health. 


As a result of the ongoing success of the Virtual Enterprise program at West Orange High School, Team Zo currently boasts a number of acknowledgments that are making WOHS a name in Virtual Enterprise International:


Awards and Commendations:

*Top 100 firms in network

*Firm Branding Package Competition = top 10% (VEI network)

*Firm Pitch Competition = Honorable Mention (VEI network)

*Sales Pitch Competition = First Place (State Level)

*Business Plan Competition = Third Place (State Level)


Students find the course challenging yet fun and fulfilling. 


“VE has given me more public speaking experience and confidence than I ever had or could probably get from a traditional classroom setting,” stated senior Samantha Rhew, Zo CEO.


“I like the positive environment and even though we are all different learners and all have different skills we make a great team,” commented senior Samara Charles, ZO Creative Team Associate.


According to Virtual Enterprise International, “VE provides a solution for schools to offer all students meaningful skills-based career experiences. Through our hands-on, task-based curricula, students test-drive potential careers and develop in-demand skills and competencies that post-secondary institutions and employers are seeking. By managing the day-to-day operations of a company, students not only develop business skills and an entrepreneurial mindset, but they also identify career pathways that align with their interests, talents, and aspirations.” 


VEI works with schools and districts to implement a college credit honors class that lasts the full school year and which provides students with “an authentic, collaborative business and entrepreneurship experience through its live global business simulation model.”  Incredibly, this is only the second year at West Orange High School has participated in the program. 


“I learned a lot more knowledge pertaining to the inner workings of a company and also about cooperation,” said student Schmidt Norelus.


Business teacher Maria Frangos is the VE course coordinator and leads team ZO,  integrating traditional learning with cutting edge strategies to run a very realistic virtual business on an international level. 


“No other course I know of is like VE. Stepping into our VE classroom is more like stepping into a startup business with 16 entrepreneurs rather than walking into a traditional classroom. The energy and desire to succeed is electric and makes the challenges of the course worthwhile,” explained Supervisor of Career Education and Library Science Nancy Mullin.


“I am tremendously proud of the students and Ms. Frangos for once again making WOHS a strong contender in the State Competitions based on the accomplishments of ZO. Winning First Place in Sales and Third Place in the Business Plan competition in the state is a huge undertaking. Our success wouldn’t be possible without our business mentors from the West Orange Chamber of Commerce, the support we receive from the West Orange Education Foundation as well as Mayor Parisi and the support of the BOE,” she concluded.


Team Zo will next compete in the Virtual Enterprise International competitions at The Staten Island Trade Fair and the International Trade Fair.

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